'Kites, Cows and Kids' to shine light on Fresh Air Fund


LONDONDERRY -- When children from New York City are able to spend time with Vermont children, all the kids learn so much, says co-chairwoman of the Manchester Fresh Air Fund Pat Meulemans.

"We had kids we hosted that spent time with our nephews," she said. "It's amazing how much they got out of it."

The third annual "Kites, Cows and Kids" event will be held on May 10 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Taylor Farm in Londonderry. There, more information about the Fresh Air Fund will be shared with attendees.

Organizers hope some of the families attending will become involved in the Fresh Air Fund, an organization that seeks to bring inner city kids from low-income communities around the five boroughs of New York City out of their familiar environment for a summer vacation experience in a rural area. The organization started in 1877.

Meulemans said it is an opportunity for the children to see a different way of life. She and her husband Greg have hosted children at their own home for 10 years. They usually have two children stay at a time and have hosted four groups in total.

In some cases, the kids have stayed in touch long after their trip.

"It's neat to see what they're doing in college," said Meulemans.

Different groups from other areas, including Brattleboro and Springfield, also assist to make these trips possible. The nationwide Fresh Air Fund organization hosts children in places all over the Northeast and Canada.

"Their goal I think every year is to host 4,000 children," said Meulemans.

The Londonderry event started as a way to get local families together and offer free activities while also discussing the Fresh Air Fund. Meulemans had spent time working at the Taylor Farm and thought it would be a perfect place to host it.

"Kids can jump from cows to pigs to horses, fly the kites and it's not very structured. And the families just love it," she said. "We generally do it when people start to think about summer. Frankly, it's a good time to fly kites and the fields out there are perfect."

For more information on the Fresh Air Fund, visit freshair.org.

Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or cmays@reformer.com. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.


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